Tinpsila Braids: Part of an Indigenous Kitchen

Tinpsila, or Timpsila, is an ancient food source that can be found on the Great Plains on North America.

For thousands of years, the People of the Plains harvested this important plant. It can be prepared and then stored for the cold winter months when foraging is impossible. This plant is a great source of nutrients like vitamin C and minerals. Tinpsila is prepared by peeling off the outer skin while leaving the root. The root is used to weave or braid for easier storage just like garlic.

When settlers came to this area, they learned from the Plains Indians about this plant and were also taught how to prepare it. Used for cooking, it can be dried and pounded down to a type of flour that can be added to soup or stew. There are chef’s today who make cakes from this natural flour or add it as a secret ingredient for fry bread. It can be chopped up and served as a side dish with mixed vegetables. It can also be chewed fresh from the ground, of course the flavor can be pleasing to some and not so good for others, it depends on what you’ve grown up with or how hungry you are. This time honored plant has sustained and still continues to feed the people living in this part of the country.

Today, Lakota people take their families and friends out to continue the ancient wild crafting skills passed down from one generation to the next. With out these skills our very existence is in peril. There is also a growing trend to learn more about the habits of the First Nations and then incorporate those skills into today’s society.

We carry a book by Sean Sherman (Oglala Lakota) who is also known as “The Sioux Chef.” His book “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen” is a must have recipe book filled with indigenous recipes developed by Sean. His flair for flavors and textures promote a more sustainable menu that can be part of a healthier way of eating. It’s not Paleo or Keto and definitely not Vegan, it’s Indigenous.